Search for dinosaurs continues

Kent Hups, a high school teacher from Westminter, shows an appoximately 100-pound rock that he thinks contains the skull of an armadillo-like ankylosaur dinosaur. Scientists at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science will try to verify the find.

If researcher Kent Hups’ hunch is correct, his latest scientific find could be the first of its kind in the world.

Hups, a high school teacher in Westminster, has become well-known in paleontological circles for his rare finds in western Colorado.

Now, Hups believes he may have uncovered skull material from an armadillo-like dinosaur — the back of an ankylosaur dinosaur skull.

The process to verify whether the find is a piece of the dinosaur’s skull will take more than a year, Hups said.

“There’s no skulls of this kind anywhere in the world,” he said, while showing members of the media the more than 100-pound rock thought to contain the skull. “That’s why we get excited if we see this kind of skull. I was an inch away, and I was looking in the area for 16 years. It’s about being in the right place at the right time. If we can confirm what it is, it will be very amazing.”

Hups, Mike Pickering, Kelly Pickering and Hups’ fellow teacher, Mitch Davis, came across the piece about two weeks ago while searching for fossils in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area.

The group used a rock saw to cut away the bone from a massive, sandstone boulder and extract the relatively smaller, watermelon-sized rock.

The rock containing the bone will be taken to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where scientists will determine its authenticity. If it is determined to be skull material of the ankylosaur dinosaur, the piece will be put on display at Fruita’s Dinosaur Journey Museum, Hups said.

Hups works with several universities and museums working to find fossils and has obtained permits to remove the finds from public lands.

Hups is known for finding one the most complete skeletons of a dinosaur of the Mymoorepelta type in Cactus Park. In 2008, he found a perfectly preserved footprint of an ankylosaur.

New dinosaur findings in western Colorado can be a boon for visitors, attracting dinosaur enthusiasts worldwide, said Barbara Bowman of Grand Junction’s Visitor and Convention Bureau. The latest information will be sent in news releases to countries in Europe, plus Japan and Mexico, she said.

“To have this kind of find is wonderful for us,” she said.


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